26 Jun Arrival by the Alaskan Railroad
My name is Evelin and I am from Aurora, Colorado but go to school at CSU in Fort Collins. My park internship location for the summer is Denali National park in Alaska and I am living inside the park just a several steps away from my office. I chose Denali because it is a place I never thought I would be able to visit in my lifetime just because of distance and lack of familiarity with the landscape. I’ve always been fascinated by this place growing up and seeing it in all sorts of movies and reading about it in books but it just seemed like a desolate area I would never be able to reach. My family was shocked to hear that I would be living in Alaska, immediately telling me to choose a different location because this one is far too “inconvenient”and “dangerous”. I know this wouldn’t be the case and now that i’ve been here for a week this place is reminds me of Colorado. I’ve got the mountains and i’ve got all the pine trees imaginable. It’s just like home when I used to go on road trips with my family into the Rocky Mountain range.
I rode into the park using the Alaskan Railroad from Anchorage to Denali (an 8 hour train ride). During the ride, the mountains immediately reminded me of home except these mountains are even sharper and rockier than any mountains I have ever seen and they encircle you rather than just being on the western face. The photo of a guy seated on a blue seat looking out the window is a passenger on the train and was one of the nicest views we saw of a winding river while we traveled over a bridge.
After making it to the park, I was greeted by several waves of spruce trees, reminding me of home, like the way it used to be before the mountain pine beetle infestations rolled in. It reminded me of how fragile and fast-changing an ecosystem could be. It’s much colder here than it was back at home when I left but the biggest difference is that the sun does not set. It just looms the horizon. My room has no curtains so I have to pretend it is night and that the moon is still out there somewhere. I am still working on settling in and doing more exploring. I hope to see more of the park and check out some trails this weekend now that I got my backpacking training that greatly helped me understand wildlife better and how to interact and not interact with moose, bears and wolves.